As Lea Anne Shellberg knows, spring can be a difficult time. It's when the winter power bills start piling up. A broken back and a recurring skin cancer battle ended her career as an interior designer. When I first tried arranging an interview, she was in trouble.
"This is gonna be fun," she said, "we're literally going to be sitting in the dark."
Despite Shellberg and her daughter taking extra care to keep lights off and appliances unplugged, the charges for the last two months at her modular home were unexpectedly high, $470. With a fixed and razor-thin budget, she couldn't pay the bill.
When it comes to covering utility costs, the poor are paying more than they can afford and energy assistance programs are struggling to keep pace.